Safaricom M-Pesa Ends Ethiopia Monopoly, Mobile Money Now Available
• Safaricom M-Pesa Mobile Financial Service has been issued a license by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to offer mobile money services in Ethiopia.
• The Kenyan company already has 3 million users in Ethiopia and is planning to make it the 10th country where its payment service will be available.
• Fuse, ChromePay’s decentralized identity service and Cardano blockchain have also announced plans for introducing their services to the Ethiopian market.
Safaricom Receives Mobile Money License in Ethiopia
The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has granted a mobile money-service license to Kenya-based Safaricom M-Pesa Mobile Financial Service on May 11, allowing them to offer its payment service in Ethiopia. This ends the state monopoly held by Telebirr which was part of Ethio Telecom network.
Mobile Phone User Numbers
Safaricom’s Telecommunications Ethiopia subsidiary had broken Ethio Telecom’s monopoly on Ethiopian mobile phone service in October 2022. Currently, the company has almost 3 million users compared to Ethio Telecom’s 54 million users, in a country with 118 million people. The government is now reportedly looking to sell a 45% share in Ethio Telecom.
Safaricom reportedly paid $150 million for its license and expects to launch M-Pesa services by second half of 2023 making it their 10th country where this payment service will be available. Besides offering financial services through mobile phones, even if customers don’t have bank accounts; M-Pesa also facilitates cryptocurrency transactions like Venmo will enable fiat-to-crypto payments from May 2023 onwards.
Digitalization In Finance
The NBE mentioned that they intend on deepening digital finance ecosystem within the economy and strongly promote digital payments as an alternative for cash transactions throughout the country. Apart from Safaricom, blockchain based payment platform Fuse along with ChromePay’s decentralized identity service and Cardano blockchain have also announced plans for introducing their services into Ethiopian market soon..
The introduction of various private and blockchain enabled financial services is expected to open up new opportunities within the Ethiopian market while promoting convenience and inclusion through digitalized payments system